First, let me preface that the trip to Colorado itself was awesome. Beautiful weather, good friends and great bonding time with Baby J.
Getting there and getting home however…let me tell you…if I never step foot in another airport again, it will be way too soon.
I think Shane and I both had a case of amnesia on what it takes to travel with a baby. I know I did. It was such a disaster; I hardly know where to begin.
But I’ll give it a shot. First of all, I will never again book a trip or rent a car online. Not to mention any names (TRAVELOCITY, BUDGET RENTAL CARS)…by the time we were all said and done, our supposedly “budget” trip to Denver (thought it would be cheaper to fly into Denver and drive to Aspen…) we could have flown first class to Aspen in a private jet and rented a Hummer Limo. Enough said.
After dealing with the rental car fiasco (that is another blog posting all together) it was midnight. We had to get up at four a.m. to make our seven a.m. flight to Denver. Now that I have Baby J sleeping through the night…she was not amused at the early hour. Neither were mommy and daddy.
Between Shane’s mountain climbing gear and all of Baby J’s CRAP (I on the other hand only had ONE bag…just for the record), we amassed a total of eight bags (and $160 in extra baggage fees ONE WAY) for three people for six days. Along with the Quinny stroller which by the end of the trip Shane was about to chuck out the plane (it looks really cool, but not exactly user friendly), we held up the baggage check in for a good long while.
No one told us that we could check the stroller and car seat at the gate. Would have been really nice to know. Nor did anyone tell us that we needed a boarding pass for Baby J who was just going to sit in our lap. I even researched it online (did I mention that I never again will book a trip online?) and nowhere did it mention that we needed any documentation for a ten pound human who can’t even talk or has any teeth.
So Shane is carrying Baby J (think Baby Carlos in Hangover…we have our Halloween costume already done) and all our carry- ons, while maneuvering through security eating a muffin and drinking a latte (I was quite impressed). We obviously were not the only ones who had the idea of getting away…the Tulsa Airport was the most crowded I have ever seen. We got to the front (no easy task mind you) only to be told that we had to go back to ticketing to get Baby J’s boarding pass…and oh, did you know that you could have brought her stroller through to make it easier? If Shane wasn’t carrying a baby, I’m pretty sure he would have punched the guy.
Two hours (a stressful stint at the no-name car rental place (BUDGET RENTAL CARS), a thrown back and hernia) later…we finally got on the road for the second leg of the journey.
I haven’t even mentioned all the well meaning but annoying as hell people on our flight who gave us advice (like this was our first) on how to handle our daughter on a plane. You could see people cringing as we walked down the aisle, breathing an obvious sigh of relief when we passed each row.
We knew there would be a lot of traffic, so we gave ourselves an extra two hours to make our 1:30 p.m. flight. Ha! Could we be anymore naive? The highway between Aspen and Denver was backed up for MILES and MILES. We crawled for hours. After we finally realized we weren’t going to make our flight, I spent the next hour on the phone with the airlines only to get nowhere (I guess I am screwed, because I never want to book a flight on the phone either…).
After rushing to the airport and paying another penalty in pre-paid gas fees, loading up our eight bags for another $160 one way, and shelling out another $100 to fly stand-by (seriously, what a racket!) we were stuck at the airport for nine hours. We could have driven home in that amount of time and saved a heck of a lot of money. (Breast feeding in the bathroom stalls was a big highlight of the day). After missing three standby flights…we finally exploited our daughter to plead our case and made it on the very last flight out of Tulsa…only to make it home at 1 a.m. to no luggage.
I could go on and on…but I am still recovering from the trauma. Any thoughts we had of taking the six of us to visit Shane’s dad in Philippines is GONE. I’m off to therapy as we speak.
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